At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. JAICHANDREN & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE ARUNA JAGADEESAN
For the Appellant: C. Natarajan, Senior Counsel for K. Ravi, Advocate. For the Respondent: M. Santhanaraman, Standing Counsel.
(Prayer: Appeal is filed under Section 35G of the Central Excise Act, 1944 r/w. Section 83 of the Finance Act, 1994 against the order passed by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, South Zone Bench, Chennai, dated 7.8.2014, in Misc.Order NO.41264-41265 of 2014.)
M. Jaichandren, J.
1. By consent, the main Civil Miscellaneous Appeal has been taken up for final disposal.
2. Heard the learned counsels appearing on behalf of the appellant, as well as the respondent.
3. The demand of service tax liability made against the appellant was to the tune of Rs.1,07,73,577/-, along with interest, under Section 75 of the Finance Act, 1994. The Appellate Tribunal had directed the appellant herein to make a pre-deposit of Rs.50 lakhs, for entertaining the Appeal, within a period of eight weeks and to report compliance, on 15.10.2014.
4. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant had submitted that the appellant is facing undue financial hardship. The said ground had been raised in the Application filed seeking waiver of pre-deposit. The Appellate Tribunal had not considered the said ground while passings its order, dated 7.8.2014, in Misc.Order No.41264-41265 of 2014.
5. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent had submitted that the order passed by the Appellate Tribunal for making the pre-deposit is reasonable and that the appellant had not stated the reasons for the waiver of the pre-deposit. Therefore, the present Appeal is liable to be dismissed, as it is devoid of merits.
6. On a perusal of the entire materials placed on record, we find that the appellant had pleaded financial difficulties and it had stated that the overall financial position of the company, which is reflected in the Profit and Loss Account, shows erosion of profitability, and, as such, the appellant is undergoing financial hardship. If the appellant is directed to make the pre-deposit of Rs.50 lakhs, as directed by the Appellate Tribunal, by its order, dated 7.8.2014, in Misc.Order No.41264-41265 of 2014, it would cause undue hardship to the appellant and it would defeat its right to file an appeal.
7. The learned counsel had also submitted that the appellant is prepared to make a pre-deposit of Rs.30 lakhs for entertaining the Appeal, as against the service tax demand made against it.
8. In such circumstances, we find it appropriate to direct t
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he appellant to make the pre-deposit of Rs.30 lakhs, on or before 28.10.2014, and to report compliance of the same before the Appellate Tribunal concerned, on 29.10.2014. The Civil Miscellaneous Appeal stands disposed of accordingly. No costs. M.P.No.1 of 2014 is closed.